Lesson 22. German Perfect Tense (Das Perfekt)

Finally, it is time to learn some more complex grammar form in German. This time we will go for German Perfect Tense (das Perfekt). Present Perfekt Tense in German is considered to be the conversational past as it is mostly used in spoken German when referring to past events. When in English you say I saw him, in German you will have to use Ich habe ihn gesehen.

How to build Perfect Tense in German?

The formula is quite simple.

The verb haben or sein + Partizip II (Participle II). You should be familiar with the participle II form as it is the third basic form of every verb in German. Just to remind you, the regular verbs form their participle II form by adding the prefix ge- and the ending -t to the stem.

Example:

lernen – gelernt

rauchen ‑ geraucht

As for irregular verbs you should have the Ablaut Reihen memorized by now.

Now, let’s get back to the rules of building the Perfect Tense.

Haben/Sein + Partizip II, whereas haben/sein are to be conjugated and Partizip II is the constant element, no changes applied.

Let’s remind you about the conjugation pattern of these two verbs. 

Haben

Ich habe

Du hast

Er, sie, es hat

Wir haben

Ihr habt

Sie, sie haben

 

Sein

Ich bin

Du bist

Er, sie, es ist

Wir sind

Ihr seid

Sie, sie sind

 

The greatest problem in forming the Perfect Tense in German is the choice of the verb ‑ haben or sein.

There is one general rule that says that all intransitive motion verbs as well as verbs which mark the change of state require the use of the verb sein. These are such verbs as fahren (drive), gehen (walk), kommen (come), reisen (travel), steigen (climb), sterben (die), wachsen (grow), werden (become), laufen (run) and similar. If you are unsure if the verb falls into this category, check the dictionary, it will always show a small letter next to the verb (h for haben, s for sein).

Examples of use:

Ich bin nach Hause gegangen. I went  home. – motion verb

Ich bin eingeschlafen. I fell asleep. – change of state

Additionally, the verbs sein and bleiben (stay) also form the perfect tense with help of the verb sein.

Example:

Ich bin zu Hause geblieben. I stayed at home.

The verb haben is used to form das Perfekt of the following groups of verbs:

  • All transitive verbs

bauen (construct) — hat gebaut
essen (eat) — hat gegessen
lieben (love) — hat geliebt

  • Reflexive verbs

sich rasieren (shave) — hat sich rasiert
sich beschäftigen (keep yourself busy/occupied) — hat sich beschäftigt

  • Modal verbs (they have a different formation rule which we will discuss in a different lesson)

Ich kann es nicht machen — I can’t do this
Ich habe es nicht machen können — I could not do this.

  • Intransitive verbs which have the meaning of a long-lasting action or state

liegen (lie) — hat gelegen
stehen (stand) — hat gestanden

  • Verbs which require Dative case and do not have the meaning of motion

glauben (believe somebody) — hat geglaubt
gefallen (like somebody) — hat gefallen

  • Verbs with the meaning of the beginning and the end of the action

beginnen (begin) — hat begonnen
aufhören (stop. cease) — hat aufgehört

There are verbs in German which can build their Perfect form with either sein, or haben based on the context.

Example:
Ich bin nach New York geflogen. I flew to New York.
fliegen is an intransitive motion verb, hence the use of “sein” to build the Perfect Tense
Der Pilot hat das Flugzeug zum ersten Mal geflogen
Here fliegen is a transitive verb and has an object in the Accusative case ‑  das Flugzeug

If in doubt, consult the dictionary, it will show the correct helping verb for every meaning of the verb.

How to use in the sentence

When using das Perfekt you should pay special attention to the words order in the sentence. The helping verb haben/sein will always be on the second place in the sentence whereas the participle II will take the very last spot in the sentence.

Er hat das Buch gelesen.

There are other rules for words order in the complex sentences but we will get to it at a later stage.

This is a very complex topic but it is also one of the most important ones in the German language. Here are a few grammar exercises to help you process all the new information you have received.

Exercises

1. Build sentences using the correct form of the Present Tense

Er/Sie hat/ist geschlafen

einen Brief geschrieben

Essen gekocht

nach Hause gekommen

geschwommen

gefallen

geheiratet

2. Tell us what did you do on the weekend. (Was haben Sie am Wochenende gemacht?) Use the phrases below.

Tanzen gegangen, Geburtstag gefeiert, Fussbal gespielt, das Auto gewaschen, zu Hause geblieben, Besuch gehabt, einen Ausflug gemacht.

3. Using the phrases from exercise 2 tell us what did your friend do on the weekend (Was hat er/sie am Wochenende gemacht?)

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Lesson 21. Two-Way Prepositions in German

In our last lesson we have covered two very important groups of German prepositions, those that require nouns in the Dative case and those that are to be used with the  Accusative case.

Today we are introducing another group of German prepositions. This one is a bit more challenging; these are so called two-way prepositions. They either require a noun in the Dative case or a noun in the Accusative case.

What does it depend on? Pure logic… and a couple of questions. More specifically, the questions are ‘wo?’(which means ‘where?’) and ‘wohin?’ (which means’where to?’).

When such preposition answers the question ‘wo?’ it takes the dative case; alternatively if the same preposition answers the question ‘wohin?’ it takes the dative case. Sounds pretty simple. However, it is not exactly like this. The problem is that native speakers know instantly which one to use. But when you study German as a foreign language, you will find yourself struggling by choosing the right question.

Let’s see how it actually works.

PREPOSITIONS

an at, on, to
auf at, to, on, upon
hinter behind
in in, into
neben beside, near, next to
über about, above, across, over
unter under, among
vor in front of, before; ago (time)
zwischen between

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

EXAMPLES

  Accusative Case/Wohin? Dative Case/Wo?
an Wir hängen das Bild an die Wand.

The process of hanging the picture on the wall.

Das Bild hängt an der Wand.

The picture is already hanging on the wall.

auf Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch.

The process of putting the book on the table.

Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch.

The book is already on the table.

hinter Stell das Fahrrad hinter das Haus!

The process of putting the bicycle behind the house.

Das Fahrrad steht hinter dem Haus.

The bicycle is already standing behind the house.

in Ich stelle die Blumen in die Vase.

The process of putting the flowers into the vase.

Die Blumen sind in der Vase.
The flowers are already in the vase.
neben Markus  setzt sich neben seine Frau.

Markus takes a seat next to his wife.

Markus sitzt neben seiner Frau.

Markus already sits next to his wife.

über Er hängt die Lampe über den Tisch.

The process of hanging the lamp above the table.

Die Lampe hängt über dem Tisch.

The lamp is already hanging above the table.

unter Die Katze legt sich unter den Tisch. —

The cat is only taking its place under the table.

Die Katze liegt unter dem Tisch.

The cat is already under the table.

vor Er stellt das Auto vor das Haus.

The process of putting the car in front of the house.

Das Auto steht vor dem Haus.

The car is already standing in front of the house.

zwischen Martina setzt sich zwischen ihren Sohn und ihre Tochter.

Martina takes her place between her kids.

Martina sitzt zwischen ihrem Sohn und ihrer Tochter.

Martina is already sitting between the kids.

As you see, it is not as simple as it sounded before. But one thing should be a hint for you. The accusative case is all about motion and process whereas the dative case is more about the final place where something/someone is standing, or sitting, or hanging, etc.

EXERCIZES

Use the correct grammar case (Dative or Accusative)

1. 1969 landete der erste Mensch auf … Mond (dem, den)

2. Morgen gehen wir in … Museum (das, dem).

3. Den ganzen Tag saß er in … Sonne neben … Baum. (der, die; einen, einem)

4. Sie trägt einen warmen Mantel über … Kleid. (das, dem)

5. Der Blumentopf steht an … Fenster. (dem, das)

6. Der Bäcker steht hinter … Ladentisch. (dem, den)

Answer the following questions correctly using the provided suggestions.

1. Wohin geht Peter? (die Schule)

2. Wohin hängst du den Mantel? (der Schrank)

3. Wohin stellt Peter den Wagen? (die Garage)

4. Wo liegt das Buch? (das Regal)

5. Wo ist die Mappe? (das Büro)

6. Wo ist die Wurst? (der Kühlschrank)

7. Wohin legt der Vater die Wäsche? (die Waschmaschine)

8. Wo ist Martin? (das Badezimmer)

9. Wohin stellst du den Fahrrad? (der Zaun)

10. Wohin fährt der Onkel? (der Wald)

As usual you will find the correct answers in the comments section.

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Köln – the Oldest Beauty with the Ever-Youthful Face

Köln, or if you are to use the English name Cologne, is the oldest and the fourth largest city in Germany. This beauty lies on the banks of the River Rhine and is a major metropolitan area with a population of around 10 million. To journey through this beautiful city is to travel between the past and the present, the medieval and the ultra-modern.

The history of Cologne can be traced back to 38 BC as the city was founded by the ancient Romans. Cologne still retains its old world charm while being one of the most modern cities of Europe. Now, let’s walk through the streets of this magnificent beauty to fall under her unique spell.

The Cologne Cathedral

The visit cannot start from anywhere other than the Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom), which spires loom into the German skyline, casting forth its eternal benediction. The cathedral, a masterpiece of medieval Gothic architecture constructed in the shape of a Latin Cross, is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. The Cologne Cathedral was built between 1248 and 1880 and is the most famous landmark of this amazing city. It has the distinction of being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the most visited monuments in Europe.

The treasure chamber of the Cathedral is the home to some of the richest treasures of the Christian church dating back to the 4th century.

The Museums

Cologne is a dream-come-true for aficionados of art and culture. The city houses more than 30 museums and galleries in excess of hundred. The exhibits here range from the most ancient to the most contemporary. Some of the must-visit museums include the Museum Ludwig, the Wallraf-Richratz Museum, Römisch-Germanisches Museum, Cologne Carnival museum,  the Cologne City museum, and of course, the German Sport and Olympics Museum for the sports buffs.

From the Roman Praetorium to the latest in the art scene, these museums pay homage to a multitude of areas that has been fascinating humans from the time of creation. The Museum Ludwig is a virtual paradise for the lovers of pop culture with it largest collection of pop art this side of the Atlantic outside the USA. The museum is a cathedral to modern art dating from early 20th century.

The Wallraf-Richartz Museum is dedicated to the Middle Ages and the 18th and 19th century with a wide variety of exhibits that include alter pieces and crosses. The Römisch-Germanisches Museum pays tribute to the Roman influences on Cologne and has the world renowned Dionysus mosaic and the tomb of Poblicius as some of its major attractions.

How could the city that has one of the most entertaining carnivals in the world miss out on a carnival museum? The Cologne Carnival Museum traces the history of carnivals from its origin to the present day. It presents a comprehensive study of carnivals from different parts of the world and is one of the largest museums of its kind in the German speaking countries.

And then there is the heaven for the sport lovers, the German Sport and Olympic Museum. All that you need to know about Olympics and national and international sports is to be found in this 2,000 square meter area.

Museum of Chocolates? Come to Cologne to get a delicious break from the common and get lost in the mouthwatering world of chocolates.

The Carnival Scene

The Cologne Carnival, the crazy days as the natives call it, is one of the major occasions of celebration in the city of Cologne. Founded in 1823, the carnival extends for a week beginning from the Fat Thursday or the Thursday prior to the beginning of Lent and concludes on Ash Wednesday. It is marked by pageants, street parades and celebrations of all kind and is the best time to visit this ancient city.

The Cologne Zoo

The Cologne is one of the oldest and the most modern zoological gardens in Europe and has one of the most extensive primate collections in the world.

Well, Cologne is not just art and culture and enjoyment. This magnificent beauty is also the home city of the oldest and one of the largest universities of Europe, the University of Cologne.

If ever in Europe, never miss the Köln.

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Lesson 20. Dative und Accusative Prepositions

In our previous lesson we have covered a complex topic of grammar cases in German. Sometimes it is tough to say when we should use the noun in a particular case but there are certain indicators which would tell you when to use which case. Today we are going to talk about such indicators. In German there are prepositions that are to be used with a particular case. You have to memorize such prepositions and half the problem regarding case use is gone. Today we will talk about those prepositions that are to be used with Dative case and those that always require Accusative case.

Prepositions that are to be used with Dative Case

Here is the list of prepositions that are to be used with Dative Case only, no matter what. They are given in an order that is best to memorize.

Mit, nach, aus, zu, von, bei, seit, außer, entgegen,  gegenüber

In the table you will find English equivalents for these prepositions:

Mit With, by
Nach After, to
Aus From, out of
Zu To, at
Von From, by
Bei At, near
Seit Since, for
Außer Except for, besides
Entgegen Towards, toward
Gegenüber Opposite, across from

Examples of Use:

mit dem Vater = with the father

nach dem Unterricht = after classes

aus der Bibliothek = from the library

zu dem Arzt gehen = to go to the doctor

nicht weit von dem Krankenhaus = not far from the hospital

bei den Eltern = at parents’

seit 2 Jahren = for two years

außer meiner Schwester = except for my sister

Er kommt mir entgegen = He comes towards me

dem Fenster gegenüber = across from the window

Prepositions that are to be used with Accusative Case

These prepositions always require nouns to be in Accusative case:

Durch, für, ohne, um, gegen, wider, bis, entlang

And again in the table below you will find the English equivalents of these prepositions.

durch through, by
für for
ohne without
um around, for, at (for time indication)
gegen against, for
wider against, contrary to
bis* until, to, by
entlang along

*”bis” is often used in pair with another preposition. In this case that second preposition defines the case that the noun should be used in

Examples of Use:

durch den Park = through the park

für den Unterricht = for the classes

ohne Worte = without Words

Die Erde dreht sich um die Sonne = The Earth goes around the sun.

gegen den Plan sein = to be against the plan

wider den Wunsch = against the will

bis morgen = until tomorrow

den Fluss entlang = along the river

Please note that the prepositions entlang und gegenüber are as a rule used AFTER the noun and not before it.

Now, you know all the prepositions that are to be used with only Dative or Accusative case. Next time we are going to cover prepositions that can be used either with Dative or with Accusative case based on a certain condition.

Exercises

Please use the noun in the correct case (Dative or Accusative). Refer to this lesson and lesson 19.

  1. Um ___ Haus herum ist ein großer Garten.
  2. Das ist eine Aufgabe für __________ Vater.
  3. Ich bin gegen ___ Plan.
  4. Ich gehe jeden Tag durch ___ Park.
  5. Ich danke dir für ___ Einladung.
  6. Ich fahre mit ________ Bus.
  7. Er spielt Fußball seit _________Schulzeit.
  8. Ich gehe mit _________ Schwester zu ________ Schule.

Please use the correct preposition in the following sentences

  1. Ich gehe nicht … meinen Bruder.
  2. … dem Frühstück gehen wir spazieren.
  3. Alle sind da … der Mutter.
  4. Die Kinder sitzen … den Lehrer.
  5. Das Buch ist … der Bibliothek.
  6. Alle sind … den Plan.
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Three Cheers to the Oktoberfest

Unlimited supply of beer, foot tapping music, and mouth-watering delicacies – the Oktoberfest has all that and more to offer you. If you wish to be a part of the most famous beer festival in the world, then get ready to pack and leave for Munich, Germany. The Oktoberfest is a 16 day extravaganza organized every year in Munich, Bavaria, Germany. It usually begins towards the last week of September and concludes in the first week of October.

In 2012 the grant party begins on September 22 and would conclude on Sunday 7, October.

The Oktoberfest is perhaps the largest and the most visited tourist attraction in Germany. Annually, more than 5 to 6 million people from all over the world congregate in Germany to drink beer and have the time of their lives. The Oktoberfest is an integral part of the Bavarian culture. But when did it start? Let’s trace the history of this unique festival which has inspired many clones in different parts of the world.

Beginning  

It all began with a wedding. The crown prince Ludwig of Bavaria tied the knots of matrimony with Princess Therese of Saxony on October 12, 1810. The whole of Munich was extended an invitation to celebrate the royal event. The celebrations were held in the huge open field that over looked the city gates. The field later on was given the name of the princess, Theresienwiese or Theresa’s meadow or fields.

To conclusion of the event was a magnificent horse race with the royal family as the witnesses. The occasion was so grant a success that it was decided to hold the horse race every year, thereby giving birth to the tradition of the Oktoberfest. The festival was also accompanied by an agricultural show in the next year. With the passage of time, the horse race was left out, but all the other local flavors were retained.

Later on, it was decided to begin the festivities in September to take advantage of the more favorable weather conditions.

Ah, the Beer

If you are a beer lover, then don’t you dare miss the Oktoberfest. Any idea about the quantity of beer that gets consumed during these 16 days? Well, somewhere around 5 million liters by the final day! And mind you, not any brand of beer can be sold for the Oktoberfest. The beer has to conform to the Reinheitsgebot or the purity order which insists that it should contain a minimum of 6% alcohol.

It is also mandatory that the beverage should be brewed within the Munich city limits. If all these criteria are satisfied, then the beer is given the tag of Oktoberfest beer and is permitted to be sold at the festival.

Let the Celebration Begin!

Huge tents are constructed in the Theresienwiese often shortened to Weisn, near the city center of Munich in preparation for this largest celebration of beer drinking. But remember, the festival is not just consuming gallons of beer. It also involves a host of other activities, the most important being the food festival. Yum, the delicacies that are sold here! You get anything from traditional Bavarian cuisine to cheese noodles. The aroma itself would tempt even a saint.

Had your fill of delicious food? Then, it’s time to groove. The music is a whole day event for the Oktoberfest. But the fun and enjoyment reaches its peek past noon when traditional folk music is accompanied by dancing. People link their arms with each other and dance to the music swinging the beer mugs from side to side. Anyone can join in the fun. The dances include marches, polkas and so on. The other festivities consist of official parades and open air concerts.

Accommodation

Of course, hotels are aplenty. But for those who wish to save their money or would love to enjoy the great outdoors, youth hostels and tents are available for cheaper rates. When you avail this mode of stay, you also get to meet people from different nationalities and get to enjoy the truly international fervor of this festival.

Oktoberfest is not just about guzzling unlimited quantities of beer. It’s about celebrating the tradition of a country which has been preserved past two centuries and being a part of one of the largest parties of the world.

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Lesson 19. Grammar Cases in German

Our last few lessons were dedicated to German verbs. Today we will re-establish the balance and learn something new about the nouns and personal pronouns. As you probably have seen the lessons are becoming more complicated because we have to get through a lot of grammar stuff. However, I assure you it is really necessary that you know all of this and more. Only after mastering German grammar you will be able to communicate effectively.

Our today’s topic will be Cases. We have probably touched this topic lightly in one or more of our previous lessons but have not addressed it in a proper way.

What are Cases and why we need to know about them? In simple words cases are relationships between nouns/pronouns and other words in sentences. This concept is practically alien to English. In English we only have possessive relationship that has a visible mark, i.e. we get an ending -’s (Santa’s). But mostly relationships between words in English are either underlined with help of prepositions or aren’t underlined at all.

In German as in many other languages there are grammar cases to express these relationships between words. There are only four cases in German. By the way a German word for a case is Kasus.

So, the German Cases are:

  • Nominativ
  • Genitiv
  • Dative
  • Akkusativ

What are things that you should know about German Grammar Cases:

-          All German nouns are declines, i.e. can be changed based on their case and number.

-          There are different patterns for declination, i.e. main pattern, and then some exceptions (as always). Today we will only cover a main pattern.

-          The noun itself usually remains unchanged. “What is changed then?” you might ask. An article is. So, obviously there are different patterns for different genders.

-          In some particular forms the noun will get an ending along with the article change. You will see it and you will need to memorize it. It is important.

Now, let me introduce the cases to you more detailed.

Nominativ (Nominative Case) is the subject of the sentence. Easy thing!

Die Katze schläft. The cat is sleeping.

Genitiv (Genitive Case) is something that we already know about – it demonstrates possession.

Das Auto des Vaters. The father’s car.

Dative (Dative Case) is what we know in English as indirect object. It is a very important German case.

Ich gebe dir ein Buch. I give you a book.

Finally, Akkusativ (Accusative Case) is what we know in English as direct object.

Ich gebe dir ein Buch. I give you a book.

I understand that it might seem very confusing and complicated right now but trust me it is not. Below you will find a table that will help you grasp the concept of cases in German.

Indefinite Article (Singular only)

  Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ein Mann ein Buch eine Katze
Genitive eines Mannes eines Buches einer Katze
Dative einem Mann einem Buch einer Katze
Akkusative einen Mann ein Buch eine Katze

Definite Article

  Masculine Neuter Feminine Plural
Nominative der Mann das Buch die Katze die Bücher
Genitive des Mannes des Buches der Katze der Bücher
Dative dem Mann dem Buch der Katze den Büchern
Akkusative den Mann das Buch die Katze die Bücher

As you can see there is nothing too complicated. Just a couple of things you should pay attention to. Remember I said some of the nouns get an ending. So, here it goes. Masculine and Neuter nouns receive an -(e)s ending in Genitive, and all nouns get an (-e)n ending in Plural. Plus, please don’t forget to change the noun’s form from singular to plural, i.e das Buch ‑ die Bücher.

Exercises:

Please use the correct form of the article.

  1. Ich helfe _____ Tante und _____ Onkel. (Dativ)
  2. Das ist ______ Lampe. (Nominativ)
  3. Er hat______ Buch. (Akkusativ)
  4. Ich sehe______Tisch. (Akkusativ)
  5. Die Katze sitzt in_______ Zimmer. (Dativ)

Make up sentences using the table below as reference. Pay attention to grammar cases.

Subject Verb Indirect Object Direct Object Adverb
ich kaufen die Frau eine Rose  (f) zum Geburtstag
du geben das Mädchen ein Ring (m) morgen
mein Freund geben die Lehrerin ein Pullover (m) oft
seine Schwester schenken die Mutter das Fahrrad (nicht) gern
die Kinder schicken mein Vater das Auto am Wochenende
ein Mann zeigen eine Katze das Abendessen um 11 Uhr
sie bringen die Großmutter Bücher (pl) später

 

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Lesson 18. Ablaut Patterns

Last week we have discussed a very specific and complex grammar topic – German regular and irregular verbs. Today we are going to continue our talk about irregular verbs  and cover one of the most important topics – Ablaut patterns.

What is Ablaut? Definitely, a German word.

Some verbs systematically change vowels In their root to some different vowels. There are certain shift patterns. This variation of vowels is called Ablaut.

The same phenomenon exists in English too. For example, drink – drank – drunk. You see how the vowel is changed. The difference in German is only that there are way more verbs that change their vowels in the root, so more that it has become necessary to associate groups of verbs with certain classes, the so called Ablaut classes.

The Ablaut classes are called Ablautreihen in German. There are 7 Ablautreihen in German. I don’t think I should mention that these verbs have to be memorized.

die 1. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) ei ie ie
bleiben blieb geblieben
leihen lieh geliehen
b) ei i i
beissen biss gebissen
schreiten schritt geschritten

die 2. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) ie о (long) о (long)
bieten bot geboten
frieren froh gefrohren
b) ie о (short) о (short)
gießen goß gegossen
schießen schoß geschossen

die 3. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) e a o
helfen half geholfen
sterben starb gestorben
b) i a u
finden fand gefunden
binden band gebunden
c) i a o
beginnen begann begonnen
gewinnen gewann gewonnen

die 4. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) е (long) а (long) о (long)
empfehlen empfahl empfohlen
stehlen stahl gestohlen
b) е (short) а (long) о (long)
sprechen sprach gesprochen

die 5. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) e a e
geben gab gegeben
lesen las gelesen
sehen sah gesehen
b) i a e
bitten bat gebeten
liegen lag gelegen
sitzen saß gesessen

die 6. Ablautteihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
а u a
fahren fuhr gefahren
laden lud geladen
tragen trug getragen

die 7. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
а ie a
fallen fiel gefallen
schlafen schlief geschlafen
lassen ließ gelassen

Of course, there are exceptions even to these patterns, verbs that don’t belong to any of the groups because they have their own, often unpredictable, vowel shifts. However, if you memorize these ones you are all set and will not have any difficulties in building different forms using German verbs.

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The Top 5 Destinations in Germany

The perfect German trip ought to include a relaxing variety of contemporary cities and charming villages; sites full of history and mountainous hikes.  You’ll find it all here, in the top 5 destinations in Germany.

Berlin

Most of the city is covered with lakes, rivers and parks.  It is equally, a contemporary and very old city.  There are a variety of sites to surround yourself with.

  • Berlin Wall – a blockade built by the German Democratic Republic, beginning in 1961, that divided West Berlin from East Berlin.  Most of The Wall has been destroyed, however a restored stretch remains along the southern border of Wedding and Mitte;
  • Berlin Philharmonic - features some of the greatest classical music within Germany today;
  • Topography of Terror – the documentary exhibition expresses the European heights of the Nazi supremacy of terror;
  • Gendarmenmarkt – a beautiful town square which is surrounded by several historic structures; a great place to shop;
  • The Holocaust Memorial (Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) – visiting this memorial can become a heart-wrenching experience. There are two parts of it ‑ the stelae field and the underground museum where you can find information and facts about the life of the Jews who had fallen victims to Nazi regime;
  • Neues Museum – collection of Egyptian artifacts;
  • Garten der Welt – take a refreshing walk through a beautiful garden;
  • Hohenschoenhausen Prison – an East Berlin prison used during the Cold War to house, and sometimes torture political prisoners;
  • Museumsinsel (Museum Island) – the residence of three prominent museums – the Altes, Bode and Pergamon;
  • Pergamon Museum – this worldwide famously archaic history museum holds numerous  incredible artifacts, including the well-known Ishtar Gate from Babylon, and the vast Altar of Zeus.

 The Romantic Road

The Romantic Road is a path of highway located in the South of Germany, between the cities of Wurzburg and Fussen.

This road is one of the most popular areas of Germany, perhaps the world, for visitors.  Entering the Romantic Road is like stepping back into your fairy tale storybooks.

  • Explore the castles, cathedrals and natural beauty of the area. Segments of the road are as ancient as the Roman Empire, and the route, uniting over two dozen charming market towns and cities are full of history;
  • You’ll encounter Baroque churches, Gothic cathedrals, well-preserved castles, guard towers, half-timbered fachwerk houses and more;
  • There are many cycling paths and hiking accessible to you, with a stunning view of the lakes, mountains, picturesque countryside, forests and rivers;
  • Immerse yourself in scores of monuments including the legendary Neuschwanstein Castle.

The Black Forest

The Black Forest – mountainous foothills surrounded by the Rhine Valley to the west and south, located in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg, in south-west Germany.

The Black Forest is a place which offers peace and serenity; discover and explore some of the most natural beauty Germany has to offer.

  • Unearth the town of Calw, which is the birthplace of Hermann Hesse, the world-renowned German author;
  • Visit Schwarzwalder Freilichtmuseum Vogtsbauernhof, a museum and restaurant which collects and preserves elements found within the Black Forest so that visitors and people of the province can access it and enjoy the plethora of the museum’s wonderful collections;
  • There is a well-known route which traces the horological history of the province. 

Munich

Munich, which is located on the River Isar north of the Bavarian Alps, was virtually demolished in war, yet the city maintains its  Bavarian ancient culture and historical features.

  • Oktoberfest is legendary, but you can visit the Hofbrauhaus any time of year for a colossal beer;
  • A must-see is Olympiapark, the site of the 1972 games.  Be sure to strap on a pair of ice skates and loop the Olympic ice rink or swim a few laps in the pool – all accessible to visitors;
  • It’s worth noting that Munich is also the site of the Dachau Concentration Camp.  The visit will leave you with reminders of the terror and awfulness of the Holocaust.

Cologne

Cologne which is located on both sides of the Rhine River is known for mainly: cathedrals and fragrance.

In fact Cologne is considered the true birthplace of men’s fragrance.  The city offers style and glamour mixed with a past dating over 2000 years. 

  • Visit the Cologne Cathedral (In Germany known as Kölner Dom.) This incredible in its beauty cathedral is one of the kind even for Germany. It is a well-known and a simply mind-blowing fact that it took more than 600 years to finish the construction of Kölner Dom. This is a mind-blowing fact.   The sheer size of this building can be awe-inspiring;
  • Cologne Christmas Market is a whimsical and wonderful place to visit – and you don’t have to wait until December!  This market has everything you could possible want or need for the holidays – all year round;
  • Check out the many museums:  Museum of Applied Art, the Museum Ludwig, and for chocolate lovers, the Chocolate Museum!  On sale at the gift shop are delicious, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth chocolates from all over the region;
  • The Koelner Zoo has more animals than any other zoological park in Germany; featuring an aquarium and the world’s largest elephant park;
  • One of the best features of Cologne, is the Pub Crawl!  This unique activity is a guided tour with free shots included, through some of the most popular pubs, some of which produce and distribute their own beers and spirits;
  • Stroll through the Botanical Gardens Flora.  This garden, which dates back to the 1800s, is an oasis, and houses a variety of cacti and plants from around the world.
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Lesson 17. German Regular and Irregular Verbs

As in English German verbs are not an easy target. They can be divided into a number of groups. However, there are two most important ones:

  • Regular verbs
  • Irregular verbs

Till now we have mostly dealt with regular verbs that have quite a predictable pattern in conjugation. Today we will try to learn to separate regular verbs from irregular ones because it will help us form past tenses.

Traditionally, all verbs in German have three most important forms. These are infinitive, Imperfect (past simple) and Partizip II (participle II). Without giving it too much of a grammar thought all you have to do now is to memorize these forms by heart. So, that if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you a German verb, you name all three forms of the verb without even a moment of hesitation.

Regular verbs belong into the largest group of the German verbs; they are quite easy to memorize because they all use the same pattern to build the forms. You can see this in the table below.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
lernen lernte gelernt
arbeiten arbeitete gearbeitet
spielen spielte gespielt

Remember that regular verbs form Present Tense in a simple way, too, as we learned here.

Of course, there are exceptions, or irregularities even among the regular verbs. It goes without saying that you have to memorize all the exceptions.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
kennen kannte gekannt
nennen nannte genannt
brennen brannte gebrannt
wenden wandte gewandt
rennen rannte gerannt
denken dachte gedacht
senden sandte gesandt

As you probably understand the most trouble is caused by irregular verbs. Moreover, it gets tougher because there are many groups of irregular verbs in German. Today we will only speak about a few of verbs that have uncommon patterns in building their forms and then next week we will dive into 8 most important groups of the irregular verbs in German.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
haben hatte gehabt
sein war gewesen
werden wurde geworden
stehen stand gestanden
gehen ging gegangen
bringen brachte gebracht
tun tat getan

Exercises:

For this lesson’s exercise find in the dictionary 20 regular verbs and build their Imperfekt and Partizip II forms.

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Germany as a Travel Destination

Did you know that for the majority of the 20th century, Germany has led the world in Nobel Prizes focusing in the area of: medicine, physics, chemistry and physiology? Germany, a self-governing nation today, existed as an amalgamation of states, generally throughout world history.

Overview of German History

Many would begin Germany’s history with the rise and fall of the notorious Nazi leader, Adolf Hitler.

Under Nazi control, they would seize other nations including: Poland, Belgium, the Balkans, Denmark, Greece, France, Luxemburg, and Netherlands.

In what later became known as The Holocaust, the Hitler’s Third Reich regime would commit horrific crimes of genocide, creating policies to vanquish many rebels and minorities. Millions of people have fallen victims to the Nazis regime during this period. This includes over six million Jews, some minority groups; and people of political and religious resistance.

Victory in Europe Day, also known as V-E Day or VE Day would be the ruin of Hitler’s Third Reich. In 1945 the Nazi armed forces surrendered, and in 1945, Hitler committed suicide.

In 1961 the Berlin Wall was built. Its main aim was to prevent East Germans from emigration to the neighbor West Germany. However, by the late 1980’s, there were radical political changes; civil unrest grew over the separation and within weeks, the fall of the Berlin Wall paved the way for German reunification.

Today, Germany is a thriving country and top tourist destination; full of history, diversity, culture, art, and entertainment.

Climate

During the spring months – April and May, Germany’s climate can be a bit erratic. You may get sunlit skies and balmy temperatures, or you could encounter warm, wet and chilly conditions. May is a picturesque month as flowers bloom and much greenery is seen throughout the country.

During the summer months – June through September, moisture is at its highest levels. Be prepared for rain, and perhaps midday thunderstorms, particularly in July and August. Extremely hot weather is unusual though warmer temperatures are more common in southern Germany.

During the autumn months – October and November, this season is still subject to bright days and humid temperatures.

In November though, the days will become perceptibly shorter. Climate is more often than not, misty, foggy and cool with grey skies.

During the winter months – December through March, winters are quite placid, on the other hand, temperatures my fall well below zero, particularly at night. It’s typically cooler in eastern and southern Germany and warmer in the north and Rhine regions. Snow generally crops up in December, January and February. The Bavarian Forest collects the majority of snowfall.

Your Visa to Germany

A “German” visa does not exist anymore. Germany has joined other countries in Europe, and collectively, they’ve created the Schengen Visa.

If you are a European Union (EU) citizen, you are not required to obtain a visa to enter Germany. As a general rule, all people from countries that are not a part of the EU require a Schengen visa to enter Germany. There are some exceptions, though.

For example, if you and you are from one of the “non-visa” countries countries for which the European Union has abolished the visa procedure.

Such countries include but are not limited to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, and the United States.

Be sure to contact your local consulate for any updates or changes on visa requirements to Germany.

What Type of Currency Should You Use While Visiting Germany

The official currency of Germany is the Euro. If you need to exchange currency, many exchange desks are located at any airport and most train stations in larger cities and towns. All banks within Germany exchange currency and if you prefer to use your ATM or major credit card (Visa), most ATM’s are multilingual and will accept them.

The Language

The official language of Germany is standard German. Learning ANY new language can always be a challenge. If you are visiting Germany and you’re not familiar with the language, it’s almost essential, from a tourist standpoint and for your safety, that you learn some basic words and phrases to get you by. If you are concerned about not knowing the language, it’s suggested that you take a quick lesson online or purchase a how-to handbook prior to your trip.

Traveling to Germany

Flying can be the least expensive way to enter Germany – much cheaper if you book early. When you travel to Germany there are high chances that you will arrive at one of these airports: Frankfurt, Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin-Tegel, Cologne, Hamburg and Stuttgart. Most major airlines fly into Germany. Always research and compare rates so that you are offered the best deal possible.

Cities to Visit While in Germany

Germany is filled with so much culture, charm and entertainment, it’s always best to know what cities to visit first – getting the most out of your trip.

Berlin – Germany’s largest city offering many restaurants, art galleries, nightlife and bars.

Munich – the largest city in the federal state of Germany, borders Austria. Seek out the Bavarian culture and one of the most popular festivals in the world – Oktoberfest.

Cologne – Germany’s oldest city is rustic with photogenic medieval and Roman features and Belgian-style chocolate shops.

Frankfurt – the fifth largest city in Germany; the financial centre of Germany and home to the world’s busiest airports.

Hamburg – best known for the Beatles hang out prior to their fame – this part of Hamburg filled with brothels and sex shops (be warned, locals can be a bit hostile if you are there ‘just for the look’.) Other parts of Hamburg offer a great fish market, Museum of Hamburg History, St. Michaelis Church and boat tours.

Dusseldorf – amazing architecture, art and nightlife.

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